How To Spot A Fake 1985 Star Gatorade Slam Dunk Michael Jordan #7

Fans who attended the 1985 All-Star Weekend Banquet in Indianapolis received a 9-card set of Star basketball cards featuring the Gatorade logo on them. It’s official name is the 1985 Star Gatorade Slam Dunk set. The set includes Checklist #1, Larry Nance #2, Terence Stansbury #3, Clyde Drexler #4, Julius Erving #5, Darrell Griffith #6, Michael Jordan #7, Dominique Wilkins #8, and Orlando Woolridge #9.

Technically there are (10) cards in this set. Terence Stansbury was a late substitute for Charles Barkley. Both cards were produced, but the Barkley card wasn’t released along with the others. Eventually the Barkley card leaked out, and collectors saw it surface on the secondary market.

Star cards are notorious for being counterfeited. That especially goes for Star cards of Michael Jordan. I can’t stress how many counterfeit Michael Jordan Star cards there are floating around. You can easily find them on eBay.

Counterfeit examples of the Michael Jordan 1985 Star Gatorade Slam Dunk card are all over the place. Some people advertise them as authentic, while others do the whole “reprint” or “RP” thing. People use the word “reprint” or the letters “RP” on their listings in an attempt to fool you into thinking that specific card came from a manufacturer like Star. Places like eBay don’t know how or just don’t care enough to learn how to distinguish between the two. The people making these homemade cards are fully aware that passing them off as the real thing could come back to haunt them. Calling them reprints might not bring in the same amount of money, but it still allows them to move their hoard of counterfeits. Its a horribly abused wording loophole.

When placed side-by-side the difference between an authentic example and counterfeit can easily be seen. One of the biggest red flags of a counterfeit is the lack of a line going through the letter “N” in “JORDAN” on the front. I’ve never seen an authentic version without this printing defect. Most counterfeits forget to include this element. Overall photo blurriness, and incorrect coloring can be other signs of a counterfeit.

Flipping the card over you’ll see more red flags. Counterfeit backs tend to have thicker/bold font. In some cases the font is a completely different color especially in Jordan’s bio. Its not uncommon for the text in Jordan’s bio to be broken too on a counterfeit.

If capable, compare the Jordan with another (less expensive) card from the same set. The printing techniques should be similar. Star did not print Michael Jordan’s card any differently.

Counterfeit front

Authentic front

Counterfeit back

Counterfeit back

Authentic back

How To Spot A Fake Jim Kelly 1984 Topps USFL Rookie Card #36

Wouldn’t it be fun to see new cards made that pay tribute to the USFL? I truly believe collectors would like to pull autographs of Steve Young in an LA Express uniform. Tell them to dig up one of Reggie White’s Memphis Showboats uniforms, cut it up, and place some swatches into a few cards. The list goes on and on. I’m not 100% sure how all the licensing works though when it comes to using team names and logos from a defunct league.

During it’s short lifespan, Topps issued two USFL sets. The first arriving in 1984, and the second in 1985. No packs. Each were issued in factory set form, and in much smaller quantities compared to their NFL counterpart. Hall of Famers such as Steve Young, Reggie White, and Jim Kelly made their cardboard debut in USFL uniforms. Their USFL rookies are in much higher demand compared to their first NFL licensed cards.

Lets get one thing straight. Topps has never issued any kind of USFL reprint. The 1985 set was the last USFL product they issued. Between you and me the word “Reprint” is being used way too loosely nowadays. An authentic “Reprint” originates from the card its modeled after original manufacturer. A homemade card doesn’t count as a reprint. That’s considered a counterfeit. People use the word “reprint” or the letters “RP” on their listings in an attempt to fool you into thinking that specific card came from a manufacturer like Topps. Places like eBay don’t know how or just don’t care enough to learn how to distinguish between the two. The people making these homemade cards are fully aware that passing them off as the real deal could come back to bite them. Calling them reprints might not bring in the same amount of money, but it still allows them to move their hoard of counterfeits. Its a horribly abused wording loophole.

Below are some tips for spotting a counterfeit Jim Kelly 1984 Topps USFL #36 Rookie Card. FYI – Most of these tips also apply to 1984 Topps USFL rookies of Steve Young, Reggie White, and Herschel Walker.

  • Centering – Authentic cards from the 1984 Topps USFL set are notorious for having bad centering. Most counterfeits have excellent centering because they want the card to look as good as possible. Its possible to find an authentic example with nice centering, but its just something to keep an eye out for.
  • Corners – Counterfeits tend to have perfect corners. The factory set boxes authentic cards come packaged in are made of flimsy cardboard. This makes it very easy for the corners to sustain damage.
  • Back Surface – With the pink/red back its common for authentic examples to have chipping (white areas) showing. The back is quite condition sensitive. Counterfeits tend to be too good looking.
  • Contrast – As you can see below the coloring on the counterfeit is much brighter compared to the authentic example.
  • Trademark/Copyright logos – On the front of the card you’ll see two “TM” logos. One is located next to the letter “L” in “USFL”. The other is next to the profile view of the helmet. Located on the bottom of the back are the USFL and Topps copyright logos. On counterfeit examples these trademark and copyright logos are blurry. Of all the things to look for when it comes to spotting a counterfeit blurry trademark/copyright logos is the first thing to watch for.

If capable, use a less expensive card from the set (one that nobody would bother to counterfeit) and place it side-by-side with the one you are thinking about picking-up. The characteristics between the two should be similar. Topps used the same printing techniques for that less expensive card as they did for the rest of the set.

Counterfeit front

Counterfeit back

Authentic front

Authentic back

Q&A – What Happened To The 2019-20 Topps Chrome Basketball Product?

Question: What ever happened to the 2019-20 Topps Chrome basketball product?

Answer: In May of 2019, Kentucky Wildcats guard Tyler Herro shared a picture on social media showing off some basketball cards he recently signed. What got collectors so flustered was the fact that they were Topps Chrome cards.

Prior to this picture surfacing, the last basketball product Topps released came in 2009-10. It got many people wondering if Topps was going to release some type of unlicensed basketball set. Topps usually doesn’t release unlicensed products, but with all of the hype around Zion Williamson you can’t help but wonder if perhaps they were thinking about giving it a shot.

Even though Topps doesn’t have an NBA and/or CLC license, its very possible they could’ve signed someone like Zion Williamson to an exclusive autograph deal. Upper Deck has a similar setup with Michael Jordan and Ben Simmons. This would have really messed with Panini who is the only manufacturer right now with an NBA and CLC license.

Many months went by without hearing anything. During the 2020 Topps Industry Conference this product’s fate was officially confirmed. According to Topps GM David Leiner, the product doesn’t exist anymore.

It certainly gets the imagination going. What do you think a Zion Williamson Topps Chrome card would sell for? Especially when you see what Panini’s diet products go for. Can you imagine how the hobby would react to an online-exclusive Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition basketball product?

I truly believe an unlicensed Zion Williamson card made by Topps could give a licensed card from Panini a run for it’s money.

The Top 5 Phillies Cards I’d Like To See In Topps Project 2021 & Beyond

In the realm of modern-day sports card collecting a 2020 Ichiro card limited to 1,334 copies normally wouldn’t draw that much attention.  Especially if its not a rookie, autograph, and/or relic.  The Topps Project 2020 set has completely taken that idea and flipped it around.  Print runs of that quantity are considered to be very low when it comes to this set.

Near the end of March, Topps began selling their online-exclusive Project 2020 set.  Twenty iconic Topps baseball cards ranging from 1952 all the way to 2011 will receive an artistic twist from twenty popular artists.  When the set is complete it will contain (400) cards.  Before it comes to an end, I’d like to see one of the Jackie Robinson cards picture a barge in the background dumping cases of 1952 Topps High Number into the Hudson River.  This actually happened in the late 1950s when Topps wanted to get rid of old inventory.  An artistic take on that event in card history would be neat to see.

No Philadelphia Phillies are in the mix for the Project 2020 set.  I’m hoping that if we get a Project 2021… 2022… 2023 we see at least one Phillies card.  With that being said, here are my top five Phillies cards I’d like to see used for this product.

#1 – Mike Schmidt 1974 Topps #283

Mike Schmidt’s rookie card comes from 1973 Topps where he is pictured alongside John Hilton and Ron Cey.  I don’t believe Topps would use that card because the other two players are on it.  That’s probably why they didn’t use Nolan Ryan’s 1968 Topps rookie this time around, and instead went with his 1969 Topps card.  Sticking with that train of thought, Mike Schmidt’s 1974 Topps #283 would be the most logical decision.

#2 – Steve Carlton 1972 Topps Traded #751

The facial expression alone on this card should make it worthy.  Steve Carlton’s first card in a Phillies uniform can be found in the 1972 Topps Traded subset.  I would’ve suggested using his rookie, but that has him in a Cardinals uniform and paired with Fritz Ackley.

#3 – Richie Ashburn 1956 Topps #120

When Richie Ashburn’s rookie was released in 1949 Bowman, Topps and Bowman were two separate companies.  In 1955 Topps purchased Bowman and the rest is history.  Even though Topps owns the Bowman brand now I don’t think they’ll use a Bowman card that was issued prior to their ownership.  1952, 1954, and 1955 Topps designs have already been used for Project 2020.  The Topps Living Set already utilizes the 1953 design.  I could definitely see his 1956 Topps #120 being used.

#4 – Fergie Jenkins 1966 Topps Rookie Stars #254

The Phillies aren’t the first team you think about when talking about Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins.  He signed with the Phillies in 1962, and debuted with the team in 1965.  A year later he was traded to the Cubs.  Because his rookie has Bill Sorrell on it, I highly doubt this card would ever be used.  Nothing against Bill Sorrell, but its basically the same situation as Mike Schmidt’s rookie card.

#5 – Phillie Phanatic 2007 Topps Opening Day #206

The Phillie Phanatic is the greatest mascot of all-time.  We’re lucky he received a Topps NOW card in April 2018 celebrating his 40th anniversary.  I’d like to see him included in more Topps online-exclusive products.  A Topps Living Set card would be cool.  His first Topps card can be found in 2007 Opening Day.

Cancelled 2020 MLB Little League Classic Pins Begin To Surface – Red Sox vs. Orioles

This COVID-19 virus sure has messed-up a lot of stuff.  Everyone wishes we could just go back to the way things use to be.  Life will eventually get back to normal, but it certainly won’t happen overnight.

One of the casualties of this horrific virus is the Little League World Series.  It has officially been canceled for 2020.  This will be a significant impact to baseball fans, and businesses to the surrounding communities.  Hotels, restaurants, and shops are already hurting.  Taking away the business generated when the world comes to Williamsport will only deepen the economic blow.

With the cancellation of the 2020 Little League World Series also comes the cancellation of the MLB Little League Classic.  Taking place during the Little League World Series, the MLB Little League Classic features two MLB teams playing a regular season game at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field right there in Williamsport.  Little League players, and their families are welcomed to attend.  For a lot of these kids, this game might be the only chance they have to watch a MLB game in person.

Collectible lapel pins are a huge part of the Little League World Series.  Everywhere you look teams, districts, players, umpires, ushers, emergency medical staff, security guards, corporate sponsors, and local businesses have pins they’re looking to buy/sell/trade.  2020 will be an unusual year with a low number of pins.  With no Little League World Series being played, it doesn’t make sense to spend money on making them right now.  Especially during this economic downturn.

Some 2020 pins have found their way out.  I suppose they were in the works before the Little League World Series was cancelled.  Take this pin for instance.

It commemorates the now cancelled 2020 MLB Little League Classic between the Red Sox and Orioles.  A handful of these pins have been floating around Williamsport.  I wasn’t fast enough to hit the “Buy It Now” on the first two, but I got lucky with the third.  They were selling extremely fast.  According to the seller, only (50) of these pins were made.  I’ve seen a few different variations.  The pin I bought has a white scoreboard.  Others come in grey.  Its possible there could be more colors.  I’d speculate each color is limited to (50) copies.

BREAKING: 2020 National Sports Collectors Convention Postponed Due To Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Update: THE 2020 National Sports Collectors Convention HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

The National Sports Collectors Convention issued the following press release today:

(Edison, NJ) – The National Sports Collectors Convention (NSCC) announced today its Board of Directors has voted to postpone the 41st National, scheduled to start Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at the Atlantic City Convention Center, a result of health and safety concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The world’s largest sports and entertainment collectible show’s premier annual event has been tentatively rescheduled for Saturday, December 12th through Wednesday, December 16, 2020, at the Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey.

“We have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic situation with our partners along with city and state officials.  It has become clear postponement is the appropriate course of action.” said John Broggi, NSCC Show Promoter.  “We have tentative plans to hold the National December 12-16, 2020, at the Atlantic City Convention Center, given state and federal guidelines indicate it is safe to hold our event.”

Open to the public, the Atlantic City Convention Center will be transformed into a collector’s paradise utilizing over 400,000 square feet, including 650 high profile exhibitors from around the country who will be buying, selling, and trading sought after sports and entertainment collectibles.

“It was a very difficult decision to postpone the 41st National but we feel it is the right decision given the number of critical unanswered questions and uncertainty concerning the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, said Dan Berkus, NSCC Show Promoter.  “We are currently working with Atlantic City officials and our NSCC team will be coordinating with exhibitors, attendees, and signing guests to ensure a smooth transition to the new December 12-16, 2020 dates.”

Exhibitors currently registered for the 2020 National will receive information pertinent to their participation and how to proceed going forward.  In addition, exhibitors and attendees can visit http://www.NSCCShow.com, and our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@NSCCShow) social media platforms for current news and up-dates concerning the National Sports Collectors Convention show dates, December 12 – 16, 2020, at the Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey.

We thank you for your support and patience as we all work through these unprecedented times.  Our thoughts go out to those directly affected.

Well… this should be no surprise.  Honestly, I don’t think it will even happen in December.  People will still be recuperating from the coronavirus both physically and financially.  Given that its December the weather could be a potential factor.  Plus its the holiday season.  Lets not forget right now the Atlantic City Convention Center is being used as a field hospital for non-coronavirus patients.  I just don’t see it happening this year.  Wait until 2021.

I’ve attended seven Nationals.  Four in Cleveland.  Two in Baltimore.  One in Atlantic City.  I wasn’t impressed with the Atlantic City Convention Center.  I wasted so much power in my wheelchair just getting from the parking garage up to the room where the National was being held.  Cleveland will always be my favorite location.  As soon as you walk in the door of the I-X Center in Cleveland the National is right there.

Promos obtained through wrapper redemption programs are a huge part of the whole National experience.  I’m not a fan of Panini, but they are the only manufacturer so far to show-off what their wrapper redemption base set for 2020 will look like.  Take a good look folks.  This could very well be the most of any National promos you see this year.

41st Ephrata Lions Club Sports Card Show Postponed Due To The Coronavirus

4/30/20: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED.  The next show will be March 27, 2021.

Announcing on their Facebook page the Ephrata Lions Club has postponed their 41st Sports Card Show.  It was originally scheduled for Saturday, March 28, 2020.  The postponement is due to the coronavirus.  They will announce when a new date is set.

Former Penn State QB and current Baltimore Ravens QB Trace McSorley was scheduled to sign autographs.  We don’t know if he’ll be the autograph guest at the rescheduled date or not.

Panini’s 2018 Illusions Football Autograph COA Mistake Continues To Screw Unknowing Collectors

In 2018 Sports Card Info helped to shed some light on this issue.  Even though not much has changed since the initial story broke, I believe its important to remind people that this continues to be a MAJOR problem in the hobby.  Especially when a collector was recently screwed out of $400.

On February 28, 2020 a Tom Brady 2018 Panini Illusions Living Legends Autograph sold for $393.  Too bad the autograph is a complete fake.  Panini made the huge mistake of printing the message “THE AUTOGRAPH IS GUARANTEED BY PANINI AMERICA, INC.” on the back of a bunch of cards from 2018 Illusions that were never intended to be signed.  But yet these unsigned cards with the autograph COA on the back somehow found their way into the product.  We’ve seen this error popup on the Living LegendsIllusionists, and Mystique inserts.

Panini allowing cards to ship out with their autograph COA yet lacking the actual signature itself opens the door to all types of fraud.  And that’s exactly what we’re seeing here.  Loser scammers will sign the athlete’s signature themselves, and then attempt to pass it off as the real thing.  Because that COA is printed on the back people will believe its authentic.

As you can clearly see the autograph here is on-card.  MAJOR RED FLAG as the authentic cards use stickers.  Another indicator is the absence of a serial number.  It should be #’ed/10 or 1.

Panini simply stamped their autograph COA on too many cards here.  Some were meant for legitimate pack-inserted autographs.  Others received the autograph COA by mistake, and are just basic unsigned inserts.

Tom Brady 2018 Panini Illusions Living Legends insert with a fake autograph (front)

Tom Brady 2018 Panini Illusions Living Legends insert with a fake autograph (back)

This is what an authentic example should look like:

How To Spot A Fake Don Mattingly 1984 Donruss #248 Rookie Card

It might seem like a trivial card to counterfeit today, but at one time the Don Mattingly 1984 Donruss #248 rookie card was the king.  Back in the 1980s this card easily fetched over $100.  Many hobby veterans consider it to be the card that kicked-off the whole prospecting phenomenon.  With that type of attention and money being thrown around its no surprise that the counterfeiters came crawling.

Counterfeit Don Mattingly 1984 Donruss #248 rookies have been around almost as long as the real card itself.  If it weren’t for counterfeit versions of this card being made, the Upper Deck Company most likely wouldn’t exist.  Getting duped is what gave them the idea to print cards featuring holograms in order to make counterfeiting more difficult.

Don Mattingly has a very dedicated group of collectors.  His rookies may not be worth what they once were, but still are in demand.  An endless amount of counterfeits will always be floating around.

Here are some tips for spotting a counterfeit Don Mattingly 1984 Donruss #248 rookie card:

  • Card Stock – Large quantities of counterfeits were printed on thin card stock.  Authentic examples have card stock which is much thicker.
  • Gloss – Counterfeits tend to contain a lot more semi-gloss on the front.
  • Print – Blurry, dot-matrix printing is a major red flag of a counterfeit.  Especially on the front where it says “DONRUSS ’84”.
  • Coloring – A lighter-colored front/back is a telltale sign that the card is not genuine.  On an authentic example these areas will be darker.

One of the best things you can do is compare your Don Mattingly 1984 Donruss #248 rookie to other cards from that same set.  The card stock, gloss, photo, and text should all look similar.  I wouldn’t use cards depicting star players from 1984 though.  Even those are known to have been counterfeited despite not being rookies.  Use some nobody.

There has been a growing trend of counterfeit cards being sold as reprints.  Counterfeits and reprints are two completely different things.  Reprints originate from the card manufacturer.  Counterfeits are whipped-up in some losers card doctoring lab.  Its a wording loophole that helps them move their stash of counterfeits.  They’re hoping the people buying them don’t realize the difference.

Authentic front

Authentic back

Counterfeit front/back

How To Spot A Fake Stephen Curry 2009-10 Topps #321 Rookie Card

In 2016, a massive wave of counterfeit Stephen Curry 2009-10 Topps #321 rookie cards found their way into the hobby.  They continue to surface today.  Some sellers will attempt to pass them off as the real thing, while others claim that they’re reprints.

When I see the word “reprint” I think that the card’s original manufacturer made more later on to use as an insert set in another product.  That certainly isn’t the case with these.  This card has no genuine reprints.  Although they might not be asking the price they would if they were passing it off as the real thing, using the word “reprint” still makes people think it was printed and distributed by Topps.  Its just another way to move their hoard of counterfeit cards.  A major loophole in the wording, and the misinterpretation from uneducated buyers.

Here are a few tips for spotting a counterfeit Stephen Curry 2009-10 Topps #321 rookie card:

  • Extra Gloss – Counterfeit examples tend to have more gloss on them compared to an authentic card.
  • Incorrect Card Stock – When placed side-by-side its obvious that the card stock on the counterfeit isn’t the same as an original.  Counterfeit card stock has a cheaper feel to it.
  • Blurry Topps Logo – The Topps logo on the front of a counterfeit can be blurry and made up of tiny print dots.  On authentic examples this logo will be much clearer.
  • Wrong Font Size/Color – On the front of a majority of the counterfeits “Stephen Curry” and “Guard” are printed in a completely different size and color compared to an authentic example.  What should be small and silver is big and white on a counterfeit.  With that being said, I have seen some (not many) counterfeits that have the correct font size and color.  But even those don’t look right.

One of these counterfeits found it’s way to Pristine Auction.  And it sold for a total of $66.99.  You can clearly see the font isn’t what it should be.  eBay has them too.

Counterfeit front

Counterfeit back

Authentic front

Authentic back